Skinner will sell longtime Cadillac-Buick franchises in deal with GM

For the first time in decades, Jackson County auto buyers will head to different lots for their Cadillacs and Buicks.

Medford auto dealer John Skinner has agreed to sell his Cadillac and Buick franchises to Airport Chevrolet and Dollar GMC, owned by Alan DeBoer and Dave Mills. The deal is the result of an agreement between General Motors and Skinner, ending his family's 89-year run with the largest domestic auto manufacturer. The final papers are due to be signed Thursday.

Skinner Autoplex, at the corner of South Pacific Highway and Garfield Street in Medford, will continue selling used cars and trucks, becoming a nationally franchised Meineke Car Care Center and EconoLube outlet.

Mills said the dealership on Biddle Road will be known as Airport Chevrolet Cadillac, while the lot at Riverside Avenue and 10th Street will be known as Dollar Buick GMC.

Skinner Autoplex was among 1,124 GM dealers nationwide told a year ago that they were losing their franchises. When GM reinstated hundreds of dealers last month, John Skinner expected to be in that number. Instead, he said, a GM representative showed up wanting to negotiate a deal because the company's desire to group Cadillac with Chevrolet and Buick with GMC.

Many dealers, including Skinner, were scheduled for arbitration to determine their future.

"I had a choice," Skinner said today. "I was scheduled for arbitration and GM kept offering me more money and more money. After going over this 100 times, I knew we would have won arbitration and GM knew that too. They wanted Cadillac and Chevrolet together and GMC and Buick together.

"Somebody had to give up something to meet their alignment," Skinner said. "I had to do this or there wouldn't have been a Cadillac dealer here. They might have reinstated Buick, but there would have been no Cadillac dealership."

— Greg Stiles

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